Associate Professor Bhisham Sharma comes to Michigan Tech from Wichita State University, where he worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pune in Pune, India, and his MS and PhD in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Purdue University. He also spent a few years at Purdue as a post-doctoral research associate and a visiting assistant professor. Welcome, Dr. Sharma!
What drew you to Michigan Tech?
I was initially drawn to Michigan Tech for its exceptional academic reputation and its commitment to interdisciplinary research and innovation. This environment offers a fantastic opportunity to foster collaboration, a critical element in addressing complex research challenges. What sets Michigan Tech apart is the visible support and resources provided by the administration, a feature not commonly found at every university.
Another significant factor in my decision was the ME-EM department’s outstanding academic program and its strong emphasis on equipping students with real-world experiences. As a faculty member, my own teaching philosophy and vision perfectly align with the department’s approach as we bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical engineering applications.
Last but not least, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to reside in such a breathtaking and unique natural environment? Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers a quality of life that is second to none, with an abundance of outdoor activities and natural beauty. I am looking forward to exploring all there is to explore!
“Always remember that the word ‘school’ derives from the Greek word for leisure. True learning only happens when your mind is free to explore and think new thoughts.”
What is your primary area of research?
My research primarily falls in the overlap of solid mechanics, structural dynamics, acoustics, and advanced manufacturing. At one end of the spectrum, I seek to understand fundamental mechanics and acoustics of novel engineered material systems such as acoustic metamaterials, phononic structures, architected lattice structures, and stochastic foams. At the other end, I focus on developing advanced manufacturing methods that can enable such structures and to translate this fundamental knowledge—create performance-tailored solutions to critical engineering problems across various industries.
Can you share a little more about your research and what you like about it?
Overall, my research revolves around a central question: Can we develop lightweight structures that possess tailored multifunctional properties for specific applications? Let’s take, for example, the outer casing of a cutting-edge aircraft engine, a nacelle, which is designed as a set of separate components. Each serves a single function: the duct shells bear the primary loads; acoustic liners absorb engine noise; thermal management relies on heat shields; and composite fabric wraps ensure blade containment. This conventional “single-component, single-function” approach hampers cost savings, weight reduction, and fuel efficiency gains. It also constrains innovation in vehicle configuration.
My overarching research objective is to drive a paradigm shift and replace this design approach with a new, “single-component, multiple-functions” approach, a transformation that involves creating application-specific multifunctional structures, and advancing the essential tools for their design, analysis, and certification.
My work is inherently interdisciplinary, encouraging me to delve into physics, mathematics, and manufacturing. This continuous opportunity to acquire new knowledge fuels my passion and excitement for this field. I am motivated by the prospect of pushing the boundaries of what is possible. I find immense fulfillment in the daily process of discovery and learning that this field offers.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Most of my spare time these days is spent enjoying the adorable shenanigans of my two 1-year old kittens. I love Indian classical music and enjoy discovering new aspects to its underlying theory. I also read quite a bit. I have always been fascinated by geopolitics, so I spend a fair amount of time reading up on the current state of world affairs. I am also an ardent Manchester United soccer fan, and make sure to watch their game over the weekends. Watching TV—baking shows or murder mysteries—is my go-to after a busy day at work.
What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
Candide by Voltaire and Animal Farm by George Orwell. I have read both books multiple times. Guide, an old Bollywood movie—and Taxi Driver are my favorite movies. My favorite piece of art is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. I don’t think any human being has ever created anything more beautiful than its allegro con brio.
Any favorite spots on campus, in Houghton, or in the UP?
I have only been here two months, so it is too early for me to pick a favorite spot! For now, I think the Great Sand Bay in Eagle Harbor is my favorite spot on a warm day.